Category «Computation»

Time Steps and Binary Representation in Computer Simulations

TL;DR Using a time step whose decimal representation isn’t exactly representable in binary may lead to confusion over how much total time has elapsed in a computer simulation. It may be worth discussing in class, or worthy of an investigative or inquiry activity. Sometimes, a problem comes up repeatedly over the years and every time …

So you want to be a GlowScript developer? Here’s how!

TL;DR Developing for GlowScript requires setting up a rather extensive, but straightforwardly installed, development environment. Actual coding is done in JavaScript.  GlowScript is an online programming environment inteneded to be used to teach computation in introductory physics, although it has other applications and purposes. Although GlowScript users write code in Python (Specifically VPython, which is …

Almanacs in Astronomy Classes

In memory of my maternal grandmother Dorothy Marie Blalock Clark (1912-1997) TL;DR: Ubiquitous farmers’ almanacs are an inexpensive printed source of accurate astronomical information despite being mostly advertising vehicles. This information can be used in the classroom to generate questions and learning about not only astronomy, but also history, mathematics, and computation.  Thanks to my …

Visualizing Eigenvectors with GlowScript

I owe this post entirely to my mathematics colleague Ethan Smith and his recent work on visualizing eigenvectors in a plane. This work is based in turn on the paper by Schoenfeld. I’ve taken the visualization to 3D with the help of GlowScript and Trinket. I was instantly interested in this project becuase I’m looking …

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